What will be the biggest obstacle facing the wall and ceiling industry in 2016?

December 2015

In your opinion, what will be the biggest obstacle facing the wall and ceiling industry in 2016, and what needs to be done to overcome this obstacle?

Labor is the biggest obstacle. Amnesty is the only solution. The ball has been kicked so far down the road we are at a crisis.

A qualified labor force. Find and train younger people into the fields. Try to recruit ex-military people.

Finding quality workers is the biggest obstacle facing the wall and ceiling industry.
    The answer is:

  • Train more women
  • Hire the veterans who have served our country where they learned skills and discipline to get the job done.

—Carol Kimmel Schary, Nathan Kimmel Company, Los Angeles, California

The biggest problem we see is the multilayer process. Extremely time consuming. Need unitized walls complete at an economical cost.

The biggest obstacle to overcome in 2016 is finding qualified labor. Automation is the key as it has been in other industries.
—Bevan Wulfenstein Marketing Director, Grabber Construction Products, Highland, Utah

Hand revealed tegular/rebated ceiling tiles at the perimeter fail to take into account the seismic movement that the acoustical ceiling grid system is designed to do in a seismic event. This practise needs to change. To my knowledge all seismic testing of acoustical ceiling have been done with square edge tiles.
—Dennis Prout, Director, Teg Tab Ltd., Tauranga, New Zealand

Suppliers continue to raise their prices on materials. But contractors have to lower their prices to compete with cheaper labor. The problem is no different than farmers who claim no one will pick their fields. American skilled labor will not work for wages they were paid 20 years ago. My business was built with our motto of quality, quantity and warranty. I supplied 20 men with a 40-hour paycheck every week for 20 years. Today the only item builders care about is who is cheapest.
    I am a plasterer. I could go to 99 out of 100 jobs and find something wrong. You get what you pay for. When manufacturers are held to the standards of the certificates they hand out, changes might be made.
—Robert Perrault, Southeastern Specialties, Gulf Shores, Alabama

1. Unfair contracts: Stop signing them. 2. Training new hires. Industry must take lead in developing online training with follow-through by companies.

Manpower that has the skills to perform the trade-specific task for the immediate future and training to replace the ageing supervisory workforce that will be leaving the trade in droves over the next five to 10 years.
—Robert A. Coyle Executive Vice President Dayton Walls & Ceilings Dayton, Ohio

High skilled workers shortage—a lot of people retiring and not enough people to replace them.

Maintain margin dollars as customer demand for material drops. How we respond in cutting expenses will be critical to maintaining an acceptable financial condition.

2016 looks to be another banner year for work, but will present difficulties.
    The most significant difficulty for contractors will be the dearth of qualified workers. While we encourage all high schoolers to aim for college, not all are prepared to do so—or want to. There are too few programs aimed at preparing students for careers, particularly in construction. There are programs with that goal, like the Maryland Center for Construction Education and Innovation, but much more is needed.
    All too often, contractors are focused on the immediate needs and the bottom line and not training their workers and prospective workers for careers in construction.
    We’ve made life difficult and unpredictable for the Hispanic community who make up what seems to be a majority of construction workers. Until we resolve the immigration issue, businesses like construction, hotels, restaurants, landscapers and others will struggle to meet their employee needs, much less grow their businesses.
    A theme that is gaining ground is prefabrication of building components. Some industries have been manufacturing building components and assemblies for a long time. That trend will continue since the work is being done in a factory setting with more quality control and safety than assembling parts and pieces on site.
—Rob Aird, President, Aird Incorporated, Frederick, Maryland

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